Gone Outdoors

Cheapest Ski Resorts in Colorado

by Sarah Shelton

Hitting the slopes at major resorts like Vail and Breckenridge can easily mean a lift ticket close to $100. But Colorado also has plenty of skiing that is more affordable. With five areas charging $50 or less, and one even coming in at $17 a day, there are many inexpensive slopes to find. All prices are window prices for adults from the 2009-2010 ski season unless otherwise noted. Skiers may be able to get cheaper prices by watching for specials and sales at their favorite resorts.

Cheapest Resort

Howelsen Hill Ski Area may be small, but it holds two amazing records. Dubbed the Pioneer Ski Resort, this is the oldest ski area in Colorado that has remained open continously. Second, it has sent more athletes to the Olympics and other international competitions than any other U.S. ski resort. With adult ski passes at only $17, this compact resort is packed with value. Howelsen Hill Ski Area 970-879-8499 137 10th Street Steamboat Springs, CO 80477

Resorts Under $50

Ski Cooper is one of highest ski resorts, with a summit of 11,700 feet. Skiers enjoy the wide runs with unstoppable views of Colorado's snow-capped peaks. Adult ski passes for the 2010-2011 season are $42. Ski Cooper PO Box 896 Leadville, CO 80461 719-486-2277 www.skicooper.com Silverton Mountain's t-shirts proudly query, "Got Balls?" and they mean it. This resort covers 1,600 acres, most of it ungroomed, untamed powder. Riding the chair lift to the runs is much easier and cheaper than using a helicopter, making these slopes affordable for thrill-seekers. Unguided adult day passes are $49. (See References 3) Silverton Mountain P.O. Box 856 Silverton, CO 81433 970-387-5706 www.silvertonmountain.com

$50 Lift Tickets

Sunlight Ski Resort, outside of Glenwood Springs, features one of the longest ski runs. The beginner rated trail "Ute" meanders over two miles down the mountain. Sunlight also has plenty of intermediate and expert runs inside its 470 acres. Adult day passes are $50. Sunlight Ski Resort 10901 County Road 117 Glenwood Springs, CO 81601 970-945-7491 www.sunlightmtn.com Echo Mountain Park lies just 35 minutes from downtown Denver. Ski Magazine called this resort Colorado's "best skiing and riding value." (See References 5) Adult day passes cost $50, but you can also ski for only $28 with the Afternoon Pass. (See References 6) Echo Mountain Park 19285 Highway 103 Idaho Springs, CO 80452 303-325-7347 www.echomountainpark.com

About the Author

Getting hands dirty is just part of the fun for Sarah Shelton, who draws on personal experience to write home and garden, automotive and travel articles. Her pieces have appeared on ConsumerSearch.com, USA TODAY, Dremel.com and other websites. Shelton received a bachelor's degree from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and currently lives in southern Oregon.

Photo Credits

  • skiing powder image by joseph pankey from Fotolia.com